Davao City, Home of the President

Red Umbrella

From a Westerners perspective the news has not been positive about the Phillipines with reports of running gun battles between police and drug dealers. The implementation of controversial laws and the lack of justice afforded to the alleged criminals which were swiftly condemned by commentators throughout the world. Many were also concerned by the way the Phillipines have handled the situation. The President of the Phillipines, President Duterte has also spoken publicly on many occasions about his countries relationship with the US. He has called the US and other nations many names even levelling some of his most harshest comments directly at head of state including calling the US President a “A Son of a Whore“!

Waving Woman

With these types of comments and the worlds media painting the country in a extremely bad light would lead you to believe that the Phillipines is a lawless place ruled by gun toting police with drug dealers and users on every corner battling it out every day. So I wondered what the people of Davao City, home of the President would actually be like. Is it really that bad?

What I found turned out to be the opposite in most cases, there are several large shopping malls in Davao with the usual fast food outlets including McDonalds and variations of Burger King and KFC, just when you order a meal you will get a serve of rice instead of fries. Generally everyone is pretty friendly, even with a language barrier. Some people speak English to a reasonable level which always make it easier when you are trying to order food.

Davao City, Phillipines

Smoking in public (in Davao City) has been banned for some time and this means that everywhere you go is now smoke free however the smokers are now in the dark corners of the Davao City where the drug dealers and users used to hide. Something that would have most smokers up in arms in most Western countries is that the President is considering implementing the smoking in public ban nationwide.

Beats

Security is pretty heavy everywhere you go, including shopping centres. Security will search your belongings by hand and have you walk through a metal detector (with your belongings) then be patted down, but it doesn’t stop there, security can also check you on the way into a shop and and then again out of the shop. I’ve never been searched or felt up so much before in my life, It does make you feel safe but it really does become annoying pretty quickly. Unfortunately the level of security has probably come about due to a terrorist bombing in the night markers which killed 14 people and wounded 70 people in September.

AFP Soldier

As with most countries there is always the less fortunate people but in Davao City they were more obvious. I say ‘Less Fortunate’ because some people have a place to live, its just that they live in a shanty town made from corrugated iron and plywood.  Some have to resort to begging to get enough money to buy food and they range in age as well. On one occasion I was approached by a young girl who would not been any older than 4 years old holding her younger siblings hand. It wasn’t a pretty sight at all especially as the younger sibling would have been less than 2 years of age. She stuck her hand out wanting money but as I pulled my camera up to my eye, she turned her head so I couldn’t photograph her. She persisted begging for money from me but every time I tried to take a photo she turned her head. This exchange lasted for no more than 20 or 30 seconds and they disappeared into the crowd and was gone.  I visited the same location a few times over the 2 weeks to see if the little girl would return however I never saw her again.

Begging

but the less fortunate know no bounds as they will walk a line of traffic stopped at lights begging, when the windows don’t get rolled down they press their face hard against the glass trying to see in. I was informed that vehicle doors have been opened in the past as well. Not sure if this tactic has ever made a difference or what they are trying to achieve but they all did just that at some stage.

Yellow Man

Some people scratch their livings out of the dirt everyday by either establishing improvised restaurants, selling cheap stuff on the side of the footpath or begging while the other half is employed in industries such as farming, retail or hospitality. It certainly is a city of two extremes.

you want some traditional chicken

So Davao City, home of the President of the Phillipines turned out to be somewhat different to what has been reported in the media. People were friendly and helpful. Nearly everyone was more than happy to have their photo taken. Never witnessed any running gun battles between the Police and Drug Dealers.  What I did  find though was a city that was relatively clean and had people from two walks of life, those with the “Have” and those with the “Have Not”

The Sewing Man

Would I visit Davao City again, the answer is yes I would but it would be to photograph the people and the way they live and work. I find that its an interesting place with interesting people which is worth photographing and documenting.

Note: At this point I should warn that anyone travelling to countries such as the Phillipines should always exercise caution and a degree of personal safety as Kidnap for Ransom and Terrorism still occurs in countries such as the Phillipines.

Something Special about Panormas

I’m not sure what it is but there is something special about Panoramas that if done right make a pretty good photo. Maybe it’s because there is so much detail in them or that they have managed to capture a scene that can’t be captured without photographing a panorama or maybe the average person thinks that there is something special that goes into photographing them.

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The Olgas

It was while were travelling through the outback of Australia that I realised that the Sony A7 has the ability to take a panorama image and I couldn’t contain my excitement. I took quite a few panoramas along the way with the idea to printing a few to hang when we got home. I was excited because I’ve never stitched an image together using image software before so I thought that having the panorama ability was pretty cool but as it turned out I was going to be sadly disappointed. It wasn’t until download that realisation smacked me pretty hard that the image out of camera would be saved as a JPEG not in RAW format to the memory card as I had hoped. So there goes the ability to make any real adjustments.

I did try and make some adjustments to this image and I think it’s turned out ok but in future I think that I’ll learn how to stitch the images together to get a better result. What do you think?

The Mad Max 2 Museum

The Mad Max museum has been featured in many travel shows and they all have mentioned that it is one of those places that is worth stopping in because it was full of Mad Max memorabilia from nearly all of the films. So while we were on a month long road trip we decided that we needed to stop in and check the place out ourselves, and it lived up to the hype.

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The day we visited was extremely cold and rain was threatening however it certainly added to the look of the place from the road. The front of the Museum is pretty colourful and its unmissable in Silverton.

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There are no photos allowed to be taken inside the museum which has plenty of costumes, photos and videos of the Mad Max film series however you are allowed to take photos of the vehicles which are located out the back which still forms part of the museum.

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mad-max-museum-silverton-2Lastly but not least the Silverton pub has been featured in many films and is worth stopping in for a beer and a meal.  Even just to look at the memorabilia that adorn the walls, ceiling and even the front of the bar. mad-max-museum-silverton-5

Exit Strategy

The glow worm tunnels near Lithgow are certainly worthy of a visit however if you look closely on the side of walking track you’ll see small entrances to other caves that people don’t normally venture into. If you aren’t afraid of the dark and getting a little dirty they will offer a view rarely seen into another world.  As we walked toward what we thought would be an exit we realised that our exit strategy would require us to climb out and get a little dirtier than usual but it was well worth the venture into the unknown and the the darkness beyond.

Lithgow-Newnes May 16-16

 

To Our Glorious Dead

May they Rest in Peace

To Our Glorious Dead

Lest We Forget

Norah Head Lighthouse

Norah Head Lighthouse

Norah Head Lighthouse

 

 

The Dog Line

In 1852 the Dog Line at Eaglehawk Neck, Tasmania was established and designed to keep the convicts from getting any further up the coast during their escape attempt. The dogs were close enough together to be able to drink out of each other’s water bowl. This sort of worked and many escaped convicts were caught and sent back to Port Arthur Penitentiary to serve the remainder of their sentence out in some pretty harsh conditions.

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Today there is a statue at the dog line representing what the dogs would have looked like and I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t like to have come across one of them during my escape attempt.

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The penitentiary stands today in all of its glory, You can walk around the site and see how cramped the cells were. Port Arthur is a beautiful place that must be visited.